‘Legends of Tomorrow’ – Brandon Routh Interview on Playing Ray Palmer

Brandon Routh Legends of Tomorrow
Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer/Atom in ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’ (Photo by Dean Buscher © 2016 The CW Network, LLC)

The CW’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has only a few new episodes left in season one and during the 2016 WonderCon in Los Angeles, the cast of the comic book-inspired series provided details (without giving away specifics) on what’s in store as the first season wraps up. Among the Legends of Tomorrow cast members to take time out of their Easter Sunday to participate in a panel with fans and sit down for interviews was Brandon Routh who plays Ray Palmer/Atom. Ray was first introduced in Arrow, has made appearances on The Flash, and now is one of the main characters on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. During our interview at WonderCon, Routh talked about how Ray’s evolved and how fun it is to play a character who, like Routh’s Superman in Superman Returns, is an optimist who enjoys life.

How would you describe how Ray has changed and evolved since being introduced on Arrow?

Brandon Routh: “I think Ray has changed. I guess I don’t know how perceptible it is to the viewer but I would say my mindset for Ray has changed as he spent more time with the characters who are most different from him, as he spent more time with Snart and Rory, and even Rip Hunter to a degree. He’s able to kind of understand where they’re coming from and see them as not just criminals, or as Rip not just solely out for himself and saving his family, but to know that they’re passionate about certain things and that they can actually work together and be a team even if Ray doesn’t agree with the history of each character and allow them to change, and that changes Ray in a way. He becomes more open, his worldview becomes a little more open I think and not so judgemental about people. And I think as far as working with other actors and characters it’s a lot of fun. I think one of the most fun things for Ray is meeting somebody new because he takes on like it’s an adventure with this new entity and how can I interact with them, how can I get a high-five out of them is what I try to figure out because it’s a fun gag for me. But I think it adds a lot of depth for the show as well.”

Is there a time frame you’re hoping to re-explore?

Brandon Routh: “I like the Western. It was my favorite and so I think it would be fun to go back and spend some more time with Jonah Hex. I had some fun interactions with Johnathon [Schaech] who plays Jonah Hex. He’s great. I kind of loved more than I thought being in that time zone…time period…timeline.”

Have you pitched any time periods you’d like to see?

Brandon Routh: “Yeah, a little bit. Not big time. I’d like to go to medieval time. Trade Ray’s ATOM suit for a suit of armor and do some fun stuff like that.”

Will Ray be going back to The Flash?

Brandon Routh: “Not this season but maybe next season. I had a great time working on The Flash and working with all those guys and I look forward to venturing back into that world eventually next season.”

Brandon Routh in Legends of Tomorrow
Brandon Routh in ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ (Photo © 2016 The CW Network)

Ray is, in a way, like Superman in that he’s positive and optimistic. Do you see that similarity between the two?

Brandon Routh: “Yeah. The character evolved from the beginning conception from Arrow where I don’t know if that was necessarily part of Ray. Initially Ray was excited about technology and enthused about that stuff. And I just kind of, as we worked with the writers and producers and played Ray, kind of molded into Ray being excited about life, period. For me that’s a lot of – selfishly that’s a lot of fun to play and it allows us to bring a lot of humor and levity to Ray, even in dark situations. So you can play the humor even when your back’s against the wall there’s a moment for that little joke to keep things light and have those dual emotions happening. Now it’s become part of the character so it’s written in there. Without me adding it, it’s written in there. I think it adds something fun to it. It is part of who Clark was, how I played Clark, so I probably selfishly brought that a little bit, too, because I like that worldview. For me, Clark was always about Kal-El getting to experience life and so he was like, ‘This is amazing. I don’t get to do it any other way. No one knows who I am, I can really fully live it and be amazed and enthused and in the moment about everything I’m experiencing.'”

Is there anything you can tease about the upcoming episodes?

Brandon Routh: “Yeah, the Kendra/Ray romance will come more to the forefront. We’ll see more of that happening and whether that happens or not happens. Some of the powers of the characters are evolving a little bit. We’ll see some changes or modifications and things happening. Vandal Savage again comes to the forefront as his plan is happening and the team is really thrown a lot of curveballs and forced to kind of accept that can they really complete their mission. There’s some pretty good stopping blocks along the way that we have to think creatively to overcome.”

Watch the full interview with Brandon Routh on Legends of Tomorrow season 2: